EEOC Issues Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Harassment
February 3, 2017
By: Alyssa N. CampbellThe Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is seeking public comment on its newly proposed enforcement guidance addressing unlawful workplace harassment under the federal anti-discrimination laws. The initial deadline for employers and other members of the public to submit input regarding the proposed guidance was February 9, but the EEOC just announced today that it was extending the deadline to March 21. The publishing of the new proposed guidance stems from the recommendations made last June by the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the study of harassment in the workplace. If put into effect, the new guidelines would supersede pre-existing agency guidelines created during the 1990s. The EEOC issued a press release, in which EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum was quoted as saying: “This guidance clearly sets forth the Commission's positions on harassment law, provides helpful explanatory examples, and provides promising practices based on the recommendations in the report.” The majority of the 75-page guidance offers an overview of the EEOC’s positions on the following topics:
- harassment based on protected characteristics (race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, and genetic information);
- establishing causation;
- harassment resulting in discrimination based on a term, condition, or privilege of employment;
- defining hostile work environment claims;
- employer liability standards; and
- systemic harassment.
- committed and engaged leadership;
- strong and comprehensive harassment policies;
- trusted and accessible complaint procedures; and
- regular and interactive anti-harassment trainings.